KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 18): The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) believes that the recent signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) provides a much-needed boost to revive Malaysia’s economy impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Datuk Dr Syed Hussain Syed Husman said the trade pact made between 15 countries in the Asia-Pacific region would provide Malaysian companies access to more than a third of the world’s market.
“The RCEP is the biggest free trade agreement (FTA) in the world and it will provide Malaysia access to a bigger market for businesses and also attract foreign direct investment,” he said in a statement today.
The RCEP agreement would also provide small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with a more level playing field between developed and less developed economies, strengthen the supply chain, and facilitate ventures into new opportunities, he added.
“In contrast to its predecessors, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the RCEP stands out impressively as it incentivises supply chains across the region while catering to political sensitivities,” he said.
Syed Hussain further said that the RCEP was less onerous than both the TPP and the CPTPP as the former made no reference to social clauses, such as labour, environment, and State-owned enterprises, which were all key chapters in the TPP and the CPTPP agreements.
He said the TPP countries represented 26% of global trade and 793 million of the world’s consumers, while the CPTPP bloc represented 495 million consumers and constituted 13.5% of global gross domestic product (GDP).
The RCEP, meanwhile, represented US$24.8 billion or close to a third or 28.9% of the world's GDP, said Syed Hussain.
He also congratulated the Malaysian government for its role in the ASEAN initiative to make the RCEP a reality.